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An Analysis of Metaphysical Religious Poetry
In this essay the metaphysical religious poetry of the seventeenth century is explored. This essay argues that the imagery in the poems of John Donne, George Herbert and Andrew Marvell contributes to themes of struggle and acceptance. Initially, this essay discusses the religious context their poems were written in, and then it presents an analyses of their poetry as metaphysical works. In this analysis the imagery each poet used, as well as the influence of the King James Bible is identified. Finally, the essay concludes how the analysis of the imagery in the poems, supports the themes of struggle and acceptance. The aim of this essay is to gain an understanding on how the poets influenced each other, as well as on the similarities and differences in their religious poetry.
It is important to analyse the religious poems in light of the religious developments during the seventeenth century. Religion was a matter of life and death, both nationally and personally (Cox, 1982:31). The Church of England were also marked as going through a time of adversity (Parry, 1985:12). Furthermore, the Protestant contemporaries shared a view that they were living in the last age of the world, as sermons viewed the Reformation as the beginning of the end (Parry 1985:67). Consequently, religious writers often discussed their urgency of affirming that the Spirit of God was still active in England, and themes of the End drawing near, including the Day of Judgement, was widespread (Parry, 1985:12). Metaphysical poetry was therefore used as the “poetry of the great age of drama” (Gardner, 1986:23), and this context distinctly influenced the underlying motifs of struggle and acceptance in the religious poems of Donne, Herbert and Marvell.
The religious poetry of Donne, especially his “Holy Sonnets” clearly demonstrate this struggle in the religious journey of searching for the truth, through a closely woven line of argument, as often seen

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